Barack Obama has become the first president to get 3D scanned and printed. The Smithsonian Institution has an amazing collection of portraits, plaster life masks and photos of U.S. presidents, starting from George Washington to Barack Obama. Now they have added a 3D printed bust of the 44th President of the United States in their gallery. As a part of the White House Maker Faire, this new bust will be added to the Institution’s National Portrait Gallery, thereby providing people an opportunity to get a first hand view of The President in a detailed accuracy. The White House Maker Faire is a celebration of entrepreneurs and students who are creating new businesses and products using technology.
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A team of 3D digital-imaging specialists from the Smithsonian Institution had met with Mr. Obama earlier this year, to scan him. They used two different procedures for scanning.
- His face was first 3D scanned from ear to ear using a high resolution scanner, which captured minute details as far as the pore level of the skin. The Smithsonian team worked with a team from the University of Southern California and used the Light Stage face scanner. It is the same technology which is used for 3D scanning Hollywood actors.
- The Smithsonian team then scanned the remaining of the bust- the back of the head, the area under the chin and the sides of the face, using handheld structured light scanners and SLR cameras.
By combining these two data sets, the team from the Smithsonian Institution created the model that was used for the 3D printing. The President enjoyed the entire procedure thoroughly and was really interested in it and kept asking questions.
After the launch of the 3D printed bust of Barack Obama at the White House, many individuals were seen taking ‘selfies’ with the bust.
Potential of the Technology
The director of the digitization program office for the Smithsonian Institute, Günter Waibel discussed about the potential of the technology in details. He said that the technology has the possibility to connect people to Obama’s life and his time and legacy as a president with a familiarity that is not conveyed by a simple painting or photograph.
3D scanning and printing is expanding at a rapid rate and the number of applications of this technology is also growing at the same pace. This is further leading to faster innovation in this sector.
What do you think?
Have you seen the 3D printed bust of The President yet? What application of 3D printing do you find the best till date? Share your views in the comments section.
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